A career in the health and fitness industry comes with its risks. Common sense isn’t a denominator anymore, with the rise of the injury lawyer claims. If one of your students, misuses fitness equipment and does themselves an injury, you’re at risk of being liable for fees to personal injury claims made against you. That’s not always going to be through your negligence.
The adverts are there for all to see, and the first thing that may happen after an injury, is the person could be off work. Even though they may know the accident was due to their misuse of equipment, the financial pressure of lost wages (especially with the economy the way it is,) makes it appealing to people, to pick up the phone, provide some details, and then fill out an information pack, with details of the accident.
That’s all it takes for a claim to be made against you.
Note though that personal fitness liability insurance is applicable to people in a self-employed position. That’s where you give private classes, in either health centres, churches, village halls and perhaps schools. You’ll also need liability insurance to teach clients in their own homes too.
As an employee, working for a health club, the gym will or should have employers’ liability insurance. You’re best to check that when you’re at the interview stage. Whether you’ll be working as an employee, or instructing as a private instructor, in business on a self-employed basis.
This is an important part for establishing your credibility, to run your fitness classes and teach your own clients. One of the questions people should be asking you, before they hire you is about whether you have public liability insurance in place or not. The reason you should be asked this is that before an insurance company can issue you with the appropriate insurance policy, they need to back up your credentials.
That means verifying that you are qualified to work as a fitness instructor.
Insurance companies need to know the risk level they have when they provide customers with policies. After all, it is them who will be paying out damages, when a claim is made and awarded… so it’s only common sense, they’d want to ensure that you’re up to the minimum standards of training, before they’ll issue with a policy. It’s an additional method clients can take, to ensure they’re safe working with you.
The REP, (Register of Exercise Professionals) is another place you can go to gain credibility in your line of work. They also offer public liability insurance for fitness instructors, and since the service is recognised nationally, it can also help you to reduce your insurance costs too.
This is when things take a more complex turn. When you start employing other fitness instructors to help you with your training classes, you need an enhanced policy for employers’ liability insurance. It’s no longer going to be just about assessing your level of risk. You’re also going to be assessed based on the person you hire. That’s why for some vacancies in smaller gyms, the managers will look for people with experience.
It’s not that their being biased because you’ve no experience, it’s due to the costs involved on the insurance side of things.
If you’re considering a career as a self-employed fitness instructor, working on your own terms, then be sure that you do your research and have the proper liability insurance policy in place, before you start to teach your own clients.